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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I have a vacation rental home listed on the online site VRBO

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I have a vacation rental home listed on the online site VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). All actions that take place between my guests and me are through our page on this site. These actions include that the property is described there, pictures are posted, the owner's own rules and refund policy is stated, reservation requests are delivered to me,and the moneys are handle through an escrow-like account by VRBO. The page for my property states "Cancellation process: 100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date." A guest booked my home twice on this website. During their first stay, they cancelled the second stay as their local business had been concluded early. Their reservation (for both stays) was made only 10 days before their second arrival date, which clearly did not meet the 30 day or more policy stated on the site. Furthermore, I could not find a way to remove their stay from my on site calendar. Therefore the home appeared to be booked to potential guests and I was thus not able to rebook the home. The guests have contacted VRBO and the moneys for their second stay which had been deposited to my bank by VRBO were recharged. The guest is claiming (the property continued to charge their credit card despite notification of cancellation." To resolve this matter, VRBO is requesting documentation from me including: A. Signed Rental Agreement; B. Documentation to prove the transaction was not cancelled: C. Rebuttal letter addressing the guest's claim, including any attempts made be the owner to resolve this matter directly with the cardholder. D. Credit receipt; and E. "Per Card Association Rules and Regulations, cancellation policy has no bearing on "Cancelled Recurring" chargebacks because the guest is claiming to have cancelled the method of payment. I feel that a verbal contract was in effect and is "provable by the action taken by both parties which is obviously in reliance on the existence of a contract." The situation also appears to qualify as an implied contract whereas both parties had reached an agreement even though not expressed that all aspects of the verbal contract as outlined on our web page would be adhered to by both parties.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

If I may ask, was this double-booking an error, or did the person intend to book twice? Or you do not know?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It was absolutely intentional. I had another guest staying right in the middle of the period they wanted to originally book. So they decided to check out for the two days the others guests had reserved the home and then they were going to check back in as soon as these other folks left. This was all known to them and booked accordingly a couple days before their first stay.

Thank you for your follow-up.

That does make it easier. If it was intentional and they were aware of the 30 day policy, they cannot later claim that they are entitled to a refund. You would still have to honor the regulations and demands of the site and accordingly provide them with all the information (since by virtue of using their site for your property, you agree to be bound by their rules and by their evaluation and investigation process), but it is also a situation where the site, upon review, should not disburse the funds back to the other party. I agree that this is a bit of a hassle but it is a legitimate demand by the site to ensure that both users (you and the former renter) are acting properly and in good faith to one another. And, if worst comes to worst and the site rules against you, you could still take the former renter to small claims court on your own for the fees that he may owe you.

Good luck.

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